The MIT Post Office, located in the basement of the Student Center, will reopen and resume regular hours on Monday, August 31 after being closed for six weeks.
Its future, however, is uncertain and under review by the United States Postal Service in a nationwide survey aimed at permanently closing possibly thousands of post offices.
On July 30, the Postal Regulatory Commission, an agency charged with maintaining oversight over the Postal Service, released a document stating that the Postal Service would conduct a nationwide examination of 3200 postal offices in an effort to find and close down facilities that do not meet adequate service levels.
Along with several other Boston-based university post offices, the MIT Post Office is being considered for closure by the USPS. According to a document released by Postal Regulatory Commission, the Postal Service has the ultimate say on whether or not a post office can be closed.
Ann Powers, Boston-area spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said that they had no new information regarding the post office closings.
“The study is currently in its preliminary stage.” Powers said. “I don’t know if the surveys have been sent out yet.”
Cambridge Postmaster Katherine E. Lydon also said she was uninformed about the progress of the survey.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to be before we get results. It could be two weeks or much longer,” Lydon said.
The USPS has created a separate, special committee to deal specifically with the closures, Lydon said, and she is not a part of the committee.
Lydon said the USPS has never done anything like this before.
According to the MIT News Office, Lydon sent a letter addressed to MIT stating that the temporary close of the MIT post office was the result of a nationwide effort by the USPS to minimize their accumulating deficit.
In July 2009, the USPS was over budget by $1 billion, and the year-to-date budget is over by more than $3 billion. The USPS estimates the deficit will reach $7 billion by the end of the year. One of the major factors causing the deficit is mailing revenue, which was 12.8 percent lower than expected last month.
Despite the closure threat, Lydon is looking to extend the MIT post office into a 24-hour service for students. One factor that concerns Lydon, however, is the safety of the facility, more specifically her concern with homeless people living in the Student Center. Lydon is currently looking into the idea and does not know when this new service will be implemented at the MIT post office.
The USPS’s threat to close Boston-area post offices has sparked concern in the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). Moe Lepore, general president of the Boston Metro APWU, is working to keep the post offices open by informing local legislators about the situation. In a letter addressed to the State House, Lepore advises against the USPS’s plans, stating that several of the post offices being considered for closure are, in fact, making a profit.
Bob Dempsey, vice president of the APWU, said that there is no reason for the MIT post office to close because the Postal Service is locked into their lease at the Stratton Student Center until September 2015.
Lepore plans to spread the word of the post office closures to Boston area colleges including MIT. In a letter to the community, Lepore advises people to contact their elected officials to raise awareness about the post office closures. “This issue is about stopping corporate greed,” Lepore writes. “The United States Postal Service is trying their level best to make a profit and the Service was not intended for that purpose.”
It is reported that the United States Postal Service has offered buyouts for 30,000 of its employees. The plan, which could possibly save the Service $500 million every year, would allow eligible employees to receive $15,000 in exchange for quitting their jobs. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Postal Service has closed six district offices, instituted a hiring freeze, cut more than 100,000 work hours, and proposed pending legislation to Congress that would dissolve Saturday service.